Water. It’s everywhere, right, and in plentiful supply? So much so that it is probably the most commonly used ingredient in skin care, making up around 70% of all your favourite creams, lotions and sunscreens. While it’s true our planet is mainly blue, the troublesome fact is that water may soon become a luxury. The World Wildlife Fund has revealed that, by 2025, two thirds of the world’s population could be at risk of water shortages if our consumption continues at its current rate, which means it’s time to look at ways to reduce the amount of water we use on a regular basis and that goes for your skin care, too.
Water has been used as a base ingredient in skin care for decades. It’s cheap, easy to obtain (for now), doesn’t cause sensitivity when used topically, and rarely clashes with active ingredients, making it a no-brainer when it comes to formulating a new game-changing product. This reliance on water, however, also comes with its negatives. Aside from the potential environmental costs, products laden with water require more sophisticated packaging to keep the formula inside effective and they weigh more so they cost more to ship around the world. Including water in a product also takes up valuable space on the ingredients list that could go to better skin-boosting actives, plus water can be drying for the skin when used in large quantities.
Enter waterless skin care. A new breed of topical products that not only transform the skin but are much more eco-friendly. According to Mintel’s latest trend report, 13% of UK consumers are interested in dry use bath and body products, with this number rising to 24% in those aged 16-24. This means that the next generation will be looking for skin care brands that utilise water from other sources (such as lakes, glaciers and mountain springs) and plant waters that offer super-strength solutions direct from nature.
So how can you start to cut down on your water consumption when it comes to skin care? Many brands are waking up to the fact that too much water in their products provides little to no benefit for the skin and is harmful to the planet, so they have already started developing new and exciting H2O-free products that deliver calm, clear and clean skin. Solid stick cleansers, toners and sunscreens mean less product wastage, oil-based creams and serums provide impressive anti-aging benefits minus the aqua, and powder formulas that only need a small amount of water to activate them are already flooding the shelves. Here are a few to get you started…
Dermalogica UltraCalming Barrier Repair – shop
Water is simply a hydrator; it can’t repair a damaged skin barrier, no matter how much you apply. This waterless balm/gel contains Oat Oil, botanical extracts and silicones to both restore and protect the epidermal barrier. It quickly relieves itching, eases tightness and soothes dryness, all without a drop of H2O.
Medik8 C-Tetra – shop
This best-selling serum feels more like a dry oil once massaged into the skin and contains no water, opting for a Jojoba Oil base instead. It contains 7% Vitamin C to protect against environmental damage and collagen destruction while working to plump and brighten the skin.
By Wishtrend Green Tea & Enzyme Powder Wash – shop
Some products can’t go completely water-free, but they can help you reduce the amount you use during your daily skin care routine. This fine powder only needs a few drops of water to activate it into a resurfacing lather before removing dead cells, make-up and impurities from the skin in seconds.
Exuviance CitraFirm Face Oil – shop
Moisturisers are the hardest product to replace with a waterless formula, but facial oils can prove to be just as nourishing for the skin. This luxurious yet lightweight oil has been designed to work for all skin types (yes, even oily skins) and is formulated with a wealth of plant-derived oils to keep skin hydrated around the clock.